A prisoner has won a High Court challenge over being refused permission to attend his daughter’s First Holy Communion.

Mr Justice Treacy quashed the decision to deny Mark McKee’s request to go to the event in Crumlin, Co Antrim, today.

McKee is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence at Magilligan Prison in Co Derry for conspiracy to supply cannabis.

He is being held in a resettlement unit which includes a temporary release for inmates every other Saturday.

The scheme enables prisoners to spend six hours with family at five towns outside the jail.

Because Crumlin is excluded from the designated areas, prison authorities refused to let him attend the ceremony.

McKee sought a judicial review, claiming the decision by the prison governor was irrational.

His lawyers argued that there had been a failure to exercise discretion in the town visits scheme.

After being told McKee is an exemplary prisoner, the judge ruled that the decision should be quashed.

McKee’s solicitor, Fearghal Shiels of Madden and Finucane, said the right outcome had been reached.

Outside the court he said: “The governor’s decision was disproportionately harsh in circumstances where he was due to be released on the day in question in any event.

“There were no security reasons preventing the prisoner from attending what is an important religious ceremony for his daughter.”